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Upgrading HTPC

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Last response: in Systems
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May 16, 2012 2:47:14 PM

So here is the specs for my current HTPC that is greatly outdated and i'm looking to replace/upgrade.

CPU - Pent 4 2.8ghz
Ram - DDR 1Gig
GPU - Nvidia FX 5500 (VGA/DVI/S-Video out)
Drive - DVD Burner Samsung
HD - 75 gig 5400rpm
Sound - Soundblaster 32bit 5.1 card
Network - Wireless N Linksys PCI Card with External Attenna. 300Mbs
OS - Ubuntu


Now i'm sure most of you are thinking "This is a HTPC ???" well yes.. for Hulu Plus / Netflix / Downloaded Movies via VLC Player this has run quite well in our living room. It is currently hooked up via VGA Cable to our TV & to a 5.1 PC Surround sound form Creative Labs. We don't livestream/play HD movies at all so it's handled quite well. It has a mouse, but no keyboard. We normally control the tv via VNC connection from our laptops or tablets. We do not pay for TV services everything we watch/use is via web.

PC's Use: File Storage & scheduled backup of other pc's via network, Movie Playback (not over network), Livestreaming via Websites like netflix/hulu-plus, Video Playback.

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My idea for a upgrade.

CPU - Dual Core 2.2ghz AMD
RAM - DDR3 4 Gig
GPU - Onboard 5870 HD Radeon
HD - 2x 500gig 7200rpm Seagate Barracuda (setup to clone to provide fault tolerance.)
Sound - Onboard 5.1
Network - Run a 100Mbs hard wire to the PC from under the house.


This would be buying a package like:
CPU/RAM/MOBO/HD.

My Question is would this be significan't upgrade? I basically want to get a Mobo with HDMI out like my gaming rig so we can handle better quality shows live streaming & Via Video Playback.



Currently we have our huluplus account turned on lowest setting and netflix on medium Setting for graphics/bandwidth. This and the movies we store on the pc all play with no issue.


We have a 1080p TV this runs to.

More about : upgrading htpc

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a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2012 3:18:26 PM

i3-2120
H61/H67 mobo
4GB DDR3-1333

This would be a HUGE upgrade from AMD 2.2ghz dual core, probably more than 2x as fast. You can get the whole setup for about $200.

I'd also recommend a inexpensive dedicated graphics card.

There is no such thing as onboard HD5870.....HD5870 is a dedicated graphics card.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2012 3:42:25 PM

I think he might be talking about Radeon 5870. Not the HD.

He could also go with Llano, but with trinity around the corner.. Eh.
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May 16, 2012 3:50:15 PM

Newegg sells them upt o 4290 and Nvidia up to gtx 430's.

I have a Nvidia GTX 275 laying around i could throw on it, but it doesn't have a HDMI port to it.

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a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2012 4:44:31 PM

Newegg sells what up to 4290 and GTX430? Not sure what your talking about or what that has to do with your post.

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a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2012 4:45:38 PM

samuelspark said:
I think he might be talking about Radeon 5870. Not the HD.

He could also go with Llano, but with trinity around the corner.. Eh.


Radeon 5870 and Radeon HD5870 are the same thing....

Yes Llano and trinity would be a good choice also, with better graphics and slower cpu, but also more expensive.
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May 16, 2012 4:52:54 PM

Might be a good idea, It runs pretty good for now. I just wanted to increase performance and a larger HD. for livestreaming video

how important is cpu vs gpu for that? I know i want to take it up to at least 2GB, not sure if over that would be worth it or not.
our Internet Speed is 6Mbps It's being upgraded to 12Mbps with the new PC.

A Second note to add as well, were ditching Windows XP to go with Ubuntu Linux on the Desktop PC, and prob dropping Netflix for Amazon Prime.


So our subscriptions would be to Hulu Plus and Amazon prime.


@geekapproved - I was referring to Onboard Graphic Cards in my previous post

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a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2012 5:13:46 PM

geekapproved said:
i3-2120
H61/H67 mobo
4GB DDR3-1333

This would be a HUGE upgrade from AMD 2.2ghz dual core, probably more than 2x as fast. You can get the whole setup for about $200.

I'd also recommend a inexpensive dedicated graphics card.

There is no such thing as onboard HD5870.....HD5870 is a dedicated graphics card.


This. ------^

You don't need anything more than this. For a dedicated graphics card, a Geforce 430GT or a Radeon HD6450 would be more than sufficient. Note the specs of my HTPC which does all you're planning (and more).

-Wolf sends
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May 16, 2012 5:27:32 PM

Wolf i like your HTPC stats.

Big Question here - Does the dual core meet all your requirements? I was thinking of going for a tri/quad if you guys think it's worth it. My high priority will be a nice GPU then. might use my GTX 275 that i got laying around and use a VGA adapater.

Do you use VGA to your TV? or HDMI?

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a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2012 5:47:11 PM

A i3 dual core would be as fast as or faster than any AMD quad while producing less heat and using less power.

Not sure what onboard video being sold at newegg has to do with your question that's why I asked.

The i3 has it's own graphics you don't need onboard graphics.

GTX275 doesn't fit with an HTPC, too loud, hot and uses too much power.

Also Ivy Bridge i3's should be out any day now and use even less power.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2012 5:48:15 PM

The dual core I have (2.8GHz) does everything I need it to. It even recorded three programs while I simultaneously watched a fourth (Ceton InfiniTV4 card). If you have a spare GTX275 doing nothing, then that's... well it's still overkill, but that ok. My HD4670 is overkill for my needs, but I wanted dual digital outputs.

I'm using HDMI to my Olevia 232T 720p HDTV and DVI to HDMI to my Optoma HD20 1080p Projector. (optical audio out to my surround sound system).

-Wolf sends
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May 16, 2012 7:01:03 PM

@geekapproved - i mentioned onboard graphics originally because i had planned on buying a mobo with like a 4000 series Radeon built into the mobo. I'm pretty familiar with AMD and no with intel so I was a bit confused on the i3.


Would the i3's HD graphics should easily record and play movies & livestream?

Thanks for the links. Ill opt for the HDMI one so i can run a cord straight from the PC to the TV.


Throw on some Ram. These seem cheap but many good reviews seem ok to you guys?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
it's G.Skill 2x 2GB chips at 1600

That puts me at $160 with CPU/mobo/Ram all taken care of. I have a 500gig Seagate 7200rpm barracuda drive i can move over to the PC for now. So.. I may go ahead and order this setup it sounds good to me.

Is the 300n Wireless ok? or Should i run a dedicated wire? I have my own wire/crimpers so i can make a custom wire to run under the house to the living room. Or would i not find much of a difference between a 100Mbps and 300ish Mbps wireless? I know the wifi is faster, but with it renegotiating every so often and us having 4 other wifi devices, wasn't so sure it was better in the end.


Thanks again for all the help guys.



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a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2012 7:09:34 PM

I think you'd do just fine with the set up that GeekApproved suggests (along with your RAM).

I've never been a fan of wireless connections, but if you can easily add a wired connection later, there is no reason not to go wireless at first and if it becomes to spotty, then add the wired connection.

-Wolf sends
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May 16, 2012 7:19:24 PM

Best answer selected by c911darkwolf.
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May 16, 2012 7:19:42 PM

Thanks guys!! Consider this thread closed you been very helpful!!
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